Conversational Implicature

Theory by Grice

In Studies of the Ways of Words, Grice outlines his Cooperative Principle and his theory of Conversational Implicature.

Conversational Implicature:  It is a way (see pragmatics) that we are able to mean more than we say by making inferences.

According to Dr. Aune's PPT:  We imply more than what was said using implicatures. 


Cooperative Principle:  Grice says that we follow the cooperative principle by adhering to four conversational maxims: 

Flout:  when we deceive intentionally and expect to be detected ("It's the end of the world!")

Deception:  breaking the maxims:  "Honey, All I did last night was go out for a beer!"

Deception theories tie into the violation of these maxims, and relate to truthfulness.  For example:  omission and exaggeration isn't considered lying while denial or fabrication is.

McCormack's Information Manipulation Theory examines how we overtly pick maxims to violate them, and produce deception (make others think something apart from the truth)

Example:  I might laugh at my friend when he tries online dating.  Why?  Not because I'm a mean person, but because of my knowledge of deception on the Internet (people posing as other people)

The goal of this theory is to determine how implicit / explicit do we need to be in a conversation?

This ties into culture through Edward Hall's idea of high and low context cultures. 

Dr. Aune's theory of communicative responsibility builds on this theory.